The Netherlands have an amazing food culture. This low lying land loves the sea and it shows in the foods they serve. It’s also a nation that takes bits and pieces from other cultures including French and German. Yet, as people have found when coming here, the foods they serve are all their own in every way. The food here is about so many things. There are intense flavors, warming soups and lots of chances to savor the merge of different cultures in a single bowl. If you’re here, take some time to get to know this fascinating corner of the food world.
One of the most commonly seen appetizers in The Netherlands, these are a much-beloved Dutch comfort food. It all starts with a beef stew left for hours on the stove until the flavors merge. The stew is shaped into patties and left to cool overnight. Then they’re dropped into hot oil with a thick outside coating. The result is usually served hot with a nice dipping sauce. They are known as Dutch meatballs locally and appreciated by people who want something that’s tasty and easy that they can when they’re doing something else.
Dutch Meat Soup
The Dutch like their meat in other ways as well. One of the most popular is in this soup. It all starts with a simple meatball usually made from veal. Many people add cream and a bit of tomato sauce and some nutmeg. Then it’s added to a broth in which vegetables are simmered for a few hours. The goal is a clear stock with lots of depth of flavor that has bright colors and plenty of crunchy vegetables. A bit of cooked pasta is added last-minute and served fast.
Erwtensoep is also known as ‘snert‘. It’s another classic Dutch soup that often takes some time to get just right. It all starts with a few basic ingredients. People take green peas, sausage, ham and a few vegetables such as carrots and celery to bring in more color. The ideal is a thick soup that can almost stand up a spoon on top. These ingredients are merged together for several hours and left to thicken. You can add a bit more broth if you want. The soup is about hitting the spot and filling up the belly.
Rijsttafel is Dutch for rice table. This dish marks the fact that there are ties between The Netherlands and what is now Indonesia. The name does not refer to a single kind of dish. Rather, it’s about a series of dishes designed to bring in all sorts of flavors to a dinner at the same time. These are traditionally much spicier than standard Dutch fare. Head off to a restaurant and bring a group with you so you can try as many courses as possible.
Cold winters make for a relatively short growing season. Given this, it is no wonder that the Dutch love to make the most of what they’ve got on hand. Cooks start it all with mashed potatoes. They are made with butter and cream for extra richness. Then the entire mixture is topped with any vegetables the cook might have on hand. This can range from carrots to peppers, spinach, and kale. Many people like to put in a large variety of vegetables. The entire dish is topped with any meat people might have lying around. It’s a many textured dish that lets the Dutch make the best use of leftovers during a long winter.